There are two hundred neighborhoods in New York (more or less). But we hear about the same few over and over. Don’t tell us Long Island City got expensive. Don’t tell us the South Bronx got a new bar. Don’t tell us East New York is the last frontier. We all know that. And there’s no such thing as a frontier.
Let’s compare the neighborhoods. All the neighborhoods. Metric by metric, toe to toe. Affordability, commute times, walkability, crime and open space. And see – all style sections aside – how they stack up.
Last year: Hunts Point, Bronx
Cheapest to Buy
Port Richmond, Staten Island
Last year: St. Albans, Queens
Midtown South/Koreatown, Manhattan
Last year: Financial District, Manhattan
Chinatown, Financial District, Flatiron, Fulton/Seaport, Gramercy, Greenwich Village,
Little Italy, Midtown, Midtown South/Koreatown, Noho, Nolita, Soho, Turtle Bay (tie)
Last year: Little Italy, Chinatown, NoHo, Flatiron, SoHo, Greenwich Village (tie)
Tottenville, Staten Island
Last year: Tottenville, Staten Island
Most Open Space
Last year: Inwood, Manhattan
Renting Is Way Cheaper Than Buying
#1 West Harlem, Manhattan
#2 Greenpoint, Brooklyn
#3 Harlem, Manhattan
#4 Bushwick, Brooklyn
#5 Nolita, Manhattan
Buying Is Way Cheaper Than Renting
#1 Parkchester, Bronx
#2 Fordham, Bronx
#3 Shore Acres, Staten Island
#4 Concourse, Bronx
#5 Port Richmond, Staten Island
Sure there are the five physical boroughs of New York but then there are the boroughs of the mind. Like the Manhattan that ends at 110th street or extends to Marble Hill. Or the Dumbo that, as far as price and walkability go, might as well be in Manhattan. The Sunnyside that might as well be in Brooklyn. The Brownsville that might as well be part of the Bronx.
Vinegar Hill has one restaurant. Roosevelt Island has a one subway station. For where you can walk, those (literal and figurative) islands sure cost a lot of money.
But boy is Mott Haven a bargain.
Reading along the righthand border of the pie slice, you can find the most expensive neighborhoods for each increasing band of commute time:
Tribeca, Civic Center, Battery Park City, Vinegar Hill, Clinton Hill, Park Slope, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Shore Acres, Hollis, Manhattan Beach, Riverdale
And then, along the left side, their counterparts – the least expensive neighborhoods with the same commutes:
Fulton, Lower East Side, Stuyvesant Town, Prospect Heights, Mott Haven, Bushwick, Brownsville, Morrisania, St. Albans, Arrochar, Todt Hill, Eastchester
And boy is Mott Haven a bargain.
Staten Island and Queens dominate the safest neighborhoods, while upper Manhattan has a lock on neighborhoods with the most open space. Inwood Hill Park alone is 23% of Central Park’s size. And no horses.
But boy is Mott Haven – actually, Mott Haven doesn’t do so well on either of these metrics. You have to make concessions somewhere.
The Best Neighborhoods If Money Is No Object
#1 Chinatown, Manhattan
#2 Noho, Manhattan
#3 Murray Hill, Manhattan
#4 Washington Heights, Manhattan
#5 Upper West Side, Manhattan
#6 Lower East Side, Manhattan
#7 East Harlem, Manhattan
#8 Harlem, Manhattan
#9 Financial District, Manhattan
#10 Flatiron, Manhattan
Money is an object. Money is all the objects.
#1 Harlem, Manhattan
#2 Washington Heights, Manhattan
#3 Hamilton Heights, Manhattan
#4 Manhattanville, Manhattan
#5 Sunset Park, Brooklyn
#6 Inwood, Manhattan
#7 East Harlem, Manhattan
#8 Ridgewood, Queens
#9 Morningside Heights, Manhattan
#10 Mott Haven, Bronx
#1 Washington Heights, Manhattan
#2 Ridgewood, Queens
#3 Inwood, Manhattan
#4 Concourse, Bronx
#5 Hamilton Heights, Manhattan
#6 Harlem, Manhattan
#7 Sunnyside, Queens
#8 Sunset Park, Brooklyn
#9 Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
#10 Borough Park, Brooklyn
The best neighborhoods for buyers this year orbit northern Manhattan and southwest Brooklyn. Bonus points: both areas are elevated, so you’ll still have a place to live when the Red Hook IKEA is ceded to the mer-people. The best neighborhood for renters on Staten Island is the best neighborhood for buyers on Staten Island – St. George, just outside the ferry terminal. Total mer-people potential.
Midtown continues to have the high crime rates, low affordability and lack of green space that earned it the lowest spot in last year’s rankings. But this year’s lowest ranked neighborhood succeeds where Midtown fails and fails where it succeeds, boasting New York City’s longest commute times and lowest walkability score.
Breezy Point, Queens is the worst.
It is, however, the best place in New York to be a piping plover.
Rent: Average prices per bedroom, Trulia. Purchase price: Price per square foot, Trulia. Commute: time to Times Square and Wall Street on public transportation, 9am Monday morning, Google Maps. Walkability: Walk Score. Safety: nyc.gov. Open space: Department of City Planning. Images: Google Street View.